Dumpling Rocks Light

July 23, 2019

Dumpling Rocks Light, Dumpling Rock, Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts


Location: On Dumpling Rock, off Round Hill, northwesterly side of Buzzards Bay, "SSW. 3/8 W." of Clark Point Old Light Tower and New Bedford, Massachusetts. 
Station Established: 1829 
Year Current/Last Tower(s) First Lit: 1889 
Operational: Yes 
Automated: 1942 
Deactivated: 1942; replaced by skeleton tower 
Foundation Materials:  
Construction Materials: Wood 
Tower Shape:  
Markings/Pattern: Black lantern room on white frame tower attached to northeasterly corner of white frame dwelling.  White fog-signal house 85 feet and red-brick oil-house 110 feet southerly of lighthouse.
Height: 39-3/4 feet from base of structure to center of lantern. 
Relationship to Other Structure: Attached 
Lens: Fifth Order (as of 1901)
Characteristic: Fixed white with a fixed red sector between "NE. 1/2 N. and NE. 3/4 E." (1901)
Fog Signal: Second-class Daboll trumpet, blasts 3 seconds, silent intervals 12 seconds.  If trumpet be disabled a bell was struck by hand.

Historical Information:

* The appropriation act of May 23, 1828, provided "That the Secretary of the Treasury be empowered to provide by contract, for building a lighthouse on Dumpling Rock, south of the mouth of Aponegansett River, in the State of Massachusetts-$4,000." Of this amount $3,832.47 was spent in 1829 in the construction of a light on a keeper’s dwelling 43 feet above sea level. Ten years after it was built, Lt. Edward W. Carpender, USN, reported: "It is a useful light in guiding vessels into Dartmouth Harbor." "The keeper and his family," the report says, "were in danger of being drowned out, until the Government built a wall around the dwelling. Since then they have lived in safety. Located, as this light is, on a small barren rock, with fewer advantages to the keeper than perhaps any other light in the district, it would seem proper that I should notice the fact of the salary being smaller by $50 than that of many others."
* During the early days of the light the keeper had arranged a signal to his friends whenever a homeward-bound vessel was sighted approaching New Bedford Harbor. An arm on a post near the lighthouse tower was raised and lowered so that the merchants could send their representatives out to the incoming boat to sell their wares.
* In 1890 the old stone dwelling, built in 1828, was torn down and replaced upon the same foundation by a frame dwelling surmounted by a wooden tower with a modern fourth-order lens. For its protection against the sea, a bulkhead 90 feet long was built of hard pine timber heavily bolted to the rock and reinforced by dry masonry from the stones of the old dwelling. 
* A Daboll trumphet, operated by an oil steam engine, was established on October 12, 1897. The following year a telephone line was run through a cable from the mainland at Nonquitt, Mass. 
* In 1905 a short breakwater was built to protect the landings. 
* Keeper Fred Bohm participated in many thrilling rescues during his term as keeper.  The New England hurricane of 1938 damaged the lighthouse seriously. 
* In 1940 the frame house was replaced with a skeleton tower and the light changed to unwatched. 
* The 400 candlepower light can be seen for 8 miles. The light is located on a rock off Round Hill Point.